The best part of the New Year is the anticipation of what's to come. New year, new start, new you, etc. But let's face it - with the New Year comes another set of sky-high expectations.

So while we leave behind 2015's baggage and plow through January with a clean slate, let's take a moment to list the things we're most excited for in 2016. While one person's weight-loss goals might be as irrelevant as another person's career ambitions, there's definitely one thing that can be shared across a multitude of interests: music.

While the first half of the year usually yields a number of esteemed records (look no further than 2015's A$AP Rocky, Jamie xx, Kendrick Lamar and Drake releases, just to name a few), by the end of the year, we are almost always left with delays, broken promises and artists who've just abruptly decided to fall off the face of the Earth.

But alas, never give up hope. For every Rihanna, Young Thug or Frank Ocean delay, comes a confirmed date (cough *Kanye* cough) from a slew of other amazing artists - however seldom that may come. So as we patiently await all of last year's unfinished business, here are our 20 most anticipated albums of 2016.


Album: Konichiwa Release Date: TBD

Often credited as one of the pioneering figures of the grime scene, Skepta has gone from an artist recognized primarily by people “in the know,” to a global name. From collaborations with Flatbush Zombies to Drake, fellow Naija artist Wizkid, and more, the emcee has secured the support of a global cast of hip-hop artists. His fourth studio album, titled Konnichiwa, promises grime-influenced beats and bars for days. Maybe we'll even see some features from his brother and fellow artist, JME.

The xx

Album: TBD Release Date: TBD

It’s been nearly four years since The xx’s 2012 sophomore album Coexist, and after releasing the promising caption “Winter studio hibernation” on their Facebook page in December, it seems that the London trio is buckling down to wrap up a third LP.

A few Instagram photos surfaced nearly a year ago of all three members recording in the studio, but they presumably took a rest when Jamie xx was busy promoting his solo debut In Colour, which was one of 2015’s most critically acclaimed dance albums. Whether the LP will reflect the same dance floor edge as Jamie’s solo work is unknown, but we’re excited nonetheless.


Album: 99¢ Release Date: February 26

From the moment she emerged onto the scene with her wildly fresh debut LP Santogold back in 2008, Philly-bred artist Santigold has continuously proven to be an artist on the radar. With a unique spin on electronic music that melds new wave, reggae fusion and alternative rock, Santigold’s quirk has earned accolades from several heavy hitting talents such as A$AP Rocky, Kanye West, Pharrell Williams and M.I.A.

We’ve already been treated to a preview of Santigold’s forthcoming LP, 99¢, via the singles “Can’t Get Enough of Myself” with B.C. and the ILOVEMAKONNEN-featured “Who Be Lovin Me,” and after dishing out a stellar sophomore effort, Master of My Make-Believe,  back in 2012, the singer is sure to follow suit with her next project.

James Blake

Album: Radio Silence Release Date: TBD

James Blake’s last project, Overgrown, was released in 2013. When he announced that he was working on a new album at the end of his Beats residency in 2015, people were pretty pumped (and a bit skeptical). Radio Silence, the forthcoming album, presents an opportunity for Blake, whose notoriety has grown in leaps and bounds, to really execute his vision.

Although Blake did drop an eponymous single that went on to find its way onto U.S. charts, not much else is known about the new album. There have been rumors that big names like Kanye West and Jay-Z may make appearances - but we shall see.


Album: Matahdatah Release Date: TBD

Artist, musician and activist M.I.A. teased a politically assertive new project in 2015 when she released the audio and visuals for "Matahdatah Scroll 01 Broader Than A Border." The project was conceptualized and directed by the songwriter, who said it would be the first among a series of “global releases.” Considering the refugee crises that marked 2015 and are also defining 2016, the timing for what appears to be a humanitarianism-focused album is very appropriate.

Major Lazer

Album: Music Is the Weapon Release Date: TBD

Peace Is the Mission was undoubtedly the summer album of 2015. Despite the exhausted airplay of the year’s most streamed pop anthem “Lean On,” the album was peppered with some truly high octane, floor-ripping dancehall jams that kept you thriving all the way through sweater season. After dropping a re-issue of the album in November, it appears that the Diplo-fronted electronic group will be gracing us with yet another LP this year, titled Music Is the Weapon.

Back in May, ML member Walshy Fire revealed that the trio’s next drop will have “a few more club songs, a few more festival songs…but it’ll be in the same spectrum, just super-well-written songs with really great production that the entire world can understand.” With talk of the group bringing Sia and The Weeknd onboard as collaborators, and most likely a slew of other big names, Music Is the Weapon is destined to be one of the most anticipated dance music albums this year.

Frank Ocean

Album: Boys Don’t Cry Release Date: TBD

We would say more, but we don’t want to end up with hurt feelings, again. All we’re going to say is: Christopher Francis, you know the deal. It’s all love but we've been waiting...


Album: Joyride Release Date: February

After winning us over with her 2014 debut LP Aquarius, we’ve been keeping our eye on sultry R&B vixen Tinashe for a minute now. With her high octane choreography, cooing vocals and street luxe style, the singer recalls a time in the early-mid 2000s where R&B queens such as Ashanti, Christina Milian and Ciara ruled the charts. Thus far, the singer has released two tracks, the Young Thug-featured banger “Party Favors” and the steamy ballad “Player” with Chris Brown, which are both confirmed for her anticipated sophomore album, Joyride.

With a production roster that includes Diplo, Max Martin - who produced The Weeknd’s 2015 smash record “Can’t Feel My Face” - Dev Hynes (of Blood Orange) and Boi-1da -  who's lent his talents to Nicki Minaj, Jay Z and Kendrick Lamar - Joyride is grooming to be one of 2016’s biggest R&B records. A world tour in promotion of the album has already been announced, but word in the blogosphere is that the album will drop sometime in February.

Pusha T

Album: King Push Release Date: June 30

Pusha had a killer 2015. Aside from being appointed president of Kanye’s GOOD Music imprint, the rapper closed the year with Darkest Before Dawn, which was quite possibly one of 2015’s most raw, icy and aggressive rap albums. But Pusha won’t be stopping there; in fact, DBD served only as a prelude to the emcee’s next project, King Push. Though both works were recorded at the same time, Pusha decided to split them up to preserve each album’s individual aesthetic.

There’s no release date for King Push yet, but if Darkest Before Dawn was only prelude, the main event should be pretty banging.

Run the Jewels

Album: RTJ3 Release Date: TBD

Run the Jewels 2 was perhaps the most socially relevant rap album of 2014, no questions asked. With El-P and Mike Killer completely immersed in a worldwide tour during the near entirety of 2015, the year failed to yield a follow-up LP. While we were treated a with Run the Jewels 2 remix album, as well as a ridiculous Meow the Jewels project that comprised entirely of cat sounds, the time has come for another proper RTJ effort.

Luckily, the rap supergroup is currently in production on their third studio project, Run the Jewels 3, which may very likely be released sometime this year. “Today I retreat to the woods to commence production on 2 albums,” Killer Mike recently tweeted. “If I get eaten by bears let the record show I was stoned and working.”

Azealia Banks

Album: Business & Pleasure Release Date: TBD

AB’s business is our pleasure; we just hope she can mind her own business long enough to get this project done (no shade). To be fair, all the flack she gets for her frequent social media and real life dustups have no bearing on her very real talent. Just a few days ago she took to Twitter to share that she was taking the J. Cole route and primarily working solo on the project. Oh, AB will also be releasing Slay-Z, a mixtape collection of Jay-Z songs remixed by her.

LCD Soundsystem

Album: TBD Release Date: TBD

After a 2011 split, no one expected to see the reunion of LCD Soundsystem for at least a decade (or ever). But when the rumor mill began working overtime last year it was eventually confirmed the group had indeed reunited -- they are even currently set to headline Coachella. The only logical next step? A fresh album. All anyone seems to know right now is that it will come out sometime this year.

Lady GaGa

Album: TBD Release Date: TBD

After Lady GaGa’s last album, ARTPOP, failed to pull the massive numbers of previous projects, some prematurely heard the knelling of funeral bells for the eclectic chanteuse’s career. However, after taking some time away from music, presumably to play a vampiric basket case on American Horror Story, GaGa recently announced she was back in the studio and working on an album. No word on a title or release date yet, but GaGa has promised it will drop this year.

Young Thug

Album: Hy!£UN35 Release Date: TBD

With a lyrical style that’s about as unpredictable as his fashion sense, Thugger’s forthcoming full-length project Hy!£UN35 (pronounced “hi-tunes”) is sure to be nothing short of stimulating. The ATL rapper’s LP was originally meant to drop via Atlantic Records last August, which was then pushed back to September, which was soon after postponed until further notice. "Pacifier" and “Paradise" are both rumored cuts from the album, but with the uncertainty about when Hy!£UN35 will be released, who will be featured on it and what producers are involved, we’re taking everything with a grain of salt.

But we’re not too worried; Thug has a knack for spinning out tracks a mile a minute. Last year alone, the eccentric emcee dished out a torrent of star studded mixtapes and countless collaborated singles. Take your time Thug, we’re in no rush. You’re probably releasing another track this very moment to be honest.


Album: TBD Release Date: TBD

After leaving us hanging with a rather lackluster LP with 2011’s The Fall, fans have been thirsty for some quality new material from British virtual band Gorillaz since the group’s outstanding genre medley of an album Plastic Beach (2010), which featured guest appearances by everyone from ‘70s music titans Lou Reed and Bobby Womack, to rap icons Snoop Dogg and Mos Def.

After a falling out between members Damon Albarn and visual artist Jamie Hewlett left prospects for a new project dour, the music world rejoiced when news of a Gorillaz reunion broke out and that the band’s fifth studio album was potentially in the cards for 2016. “I’m working on it at the moment, and it’s going very well. I’m very excited,” Hewlett told DIY of the impending LP. “I don’t want to say too much about it, but I’m at that phase of experimentation.”

Missy Elliott

Album: TBD Release Date: TBD

QUEEN Missy is back and this writer is fanning-out, hard. Although Misdemeanor hasn’t announced a name or release date for the new project, she did confirm it’s definitely coming. Missy is already well on her way to recapturing the momentum of the '90s and mid-2000s. But then again, it’s hard to go wrong when Pharrell is assisting your comeback.

A$AP Ferg

Album: Always Strive And Prosper Release Date: TBD

A$AP Ferg, after spending the majority of 2015 on the road, closed last year by reigniting his SoundCloud page with a fresh new tune titled “Tatted Angel,” a somber hip-hop paean to the late A$AP Yams. Following suit was the Future-collaborated track “New Level,” which brought Ferg back to his trap roots, dedicating the record for his "day ones...all [his] trap gods and goddesses.”

While we know that the A$AP Mob member’s second studio album is in the works, we aren’t too sure what to expect - and neither does Ferg, apparently. Last October, the rapper told Vibe that the forthcoming project is “just me going out the box. It’s not really my box. If you know me and my music, I do whatever the fuck I want to do. But I feel like for people who expect a certain type of Ferg, they’re going to get something totally different.”

As far as a release date? “I promise you I’m not gonna pull a Dr. Dre and take 10 years to put out an album but, you know, it’s gonna be out first quarter [of 2016].”


Album: Views From The 6 Release Date: TBD

After ending 2015 with the first-ever Grammy nominated diss track, the 6 God has plenty of eyes watching his next move; namely the release of his forthcoming project, Views From The 6. So far all anyone knows is that a teaser track (maybe) leaked online, and Drake and producer Noah “40” Shebib have been in the studio heavy. Now more than ever Drizzy has proven himself very interested in experimenting across genres. So hopefully we’ll see some global features make the final cut.


Album: Swish Release Date: February 11

On December, 12 2015, Kanye West told the Twitterverse:

Aside from briefly imploding social media, the news of a fresh Yeezus album also excited many of his followers (see the HS comment section). West hasn’t gotten any less polarizing since his debut or the infamous "George Bush doesn't care about black people" comment, or even since the Taylor Swift moment no one wants to let him forget. That being said, we’re interested to see what direction he takes on Swish, because let's be honest, he doesn't give AF about any of our opinions.


Album: Anti Release Date: Who the hell knows

I was hoping that I wouldn't have to include this by now, but seeing that 2015 failed to produce RiRi’s overdue, overhyped and over-teased follow-up to 2012's Unapologetic, here we go.

Despite releasing a number of singles and music videos, launching a new Samsung app and announcing a promotional world tour with Travi$ Scott, Big Sean and The Weeknd, Rihanna’s highly anticipated eighth studio album Anti is still no where to be found.

"To me it's never done until it's done," Rihanna said of the Kanye West-produced LP in September. Last November, RiRi canceled a performance at the Victoria Secret Fashion Show to put some more work into it. If canceling gigs means that you'll drop that album sooner RiRi, please do so by all means.

The views and opinions expressed in this piece are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the position of Highsnobiety as a whole.

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